Hulu for iOS Gains Support for Offline Viewing

Hulu today updated its iOS app to add support for offline viewing for the first time, which will allow Hulu content to be downloaded so it can be viewed when you don't have an internet connection available for streaming.

Hulu rival Netflix has long offered offline viewing as an option, but until today, Hulu didn't offer the feature.


According to Hulu, downloading of offline content is available to subscribers of the more expensive ad-free Hulu plan. Those with the ad-supported Hulu plan will not be able to download shows for offline viewing as it would presumably be easier to skirt commercials.

Downloaded content can be accessed through a new Downloads tab in the Hulu app, and there's an option to "See What's Downloadable" to browse through available downloadable content.

Up to 25 titles can be downloaded across five different devices, and users will have 30 days to watch downloaded content. Content that's been watched will expire two days after playback has begun, and downloaded content can be renewed by accessing Hulu over an internet connection.

Downloadable shows are available on Hulu for iOS starting today, with an App Store update required.

Tag: Hulu

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Hulu’s Updated Live Guide Available Today on Hulu.com and Apple TV

Hulu's updated and redesigned Live Guide is rolling out today on Apple TV, Roku devices, and the web, Hulu announced today.

The upcoming changes to the Live Guide were first announced in January, but took several months to launch.


Hulu live TV users can now see what's airing over the course of the next two weeks and can schedule recordings for upcoming tv shows, movies, and games in advance.

There's an option to add content to a "My Channels" list to make it easier to keep track of favorite channels and programs, with the My Channels option available from the Home interface and the Live Guide itself.

Hulu says it's easier to find recommended TV shows and movies from the Home interface, and it's easier to browse through content collections using categories like sports, news, movies, and kids.

Hulu earlier this week also began rolling out an updated version of its mobile app that's designed to make it easier to find content, but the mobile app update does not include the new Live Guide.

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Disney Announces Upcoming Disney+, ESPN+ and Ad-Supported Hulu Streaming Bundle Priced at $12.99 Per Month

During Disney's earnings call this afternoon, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that an upcoming streaming bundle that includes access to Disney+, ESPN+, and ad-supported Hulu will be priced at $12.99 per month.

The upcoming bundle will be available in the United States starting on November 12, which is the same date that the Disney+ streaming service is set to launch.


Disney earlier this year announced pricing for the Disney+ service, which is set to cost $6.99 per month, making it more affordable than many streaming services on the market. Hulu is priced at $5.99 per month with ads and ESPN+ costs $4.99, so the bundle saves customers close to $5 compared to purchasing all three services individually.

Disney is planning to make Disney+ available through the Disney+ app, which looks similar in design to Netflix and other streaming services based on a preview shown off in April. Disney+ and ESPN+ content will be available on web browsers, smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, and game consoles, which is essentially everywhere that you can watch most streaming services.

The Disney+ service and the newly announced bundle will compete with Apple TV+, Apple's upcoming streaming service that is also set to launch this fall. Apple has not yet announced pricing for Apple TV+.

Tags: ESPN, Disney, Hulu

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Hulu Introduces Support for 4K Streaming on Fifth-Generation Apple TV

Hulu today launched support for 4K streaming on the Apple TV 4K and Chromecast Ultra, after first removing 4K content from its service in the summer of 2018 (via The Streamable).


With the return of the feature, and its new availability on Apple TV 4K, Hulu subscribers can now watch Hulu Originals like The Handmaid's Tale, Castle Rock, and Catch-22 in 4K.

According to The Streamable, Hulu shows in 4K stream at 16 Mbps and only support SDR, lacking HDR or Dolby Vision. At this time only Hulu Originals are available in 4K, but the company has said that more shows will gain the 4K treatment in the future.

Hulu also introduced a new guide for its live TV streaming service Hulu With Live TV (via Engadget). The new guide offers an extended look at what's coming up on every channel in the next two weeks, including which episodes are new and how long they last.

Image via Engadget

Earlier this year, Disney gained full operational control of Hulu in the wake of a deal made with Comcast. Disney has previously said that it plans to keep Hulu as it is and focus its own properties on the Disney+ streaming service. According to CEO Bob Iger, Disney's full ownership of Hulu will create an "even more compelling" service.

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Disney Gains Full Control of Hulu Following Deal With Comcast

Disney has slowly been acquiring a larger stake in Hulu, most recently thanks to its acquisition of certain assets owned by 20th Century Fox. According to Variety, today Disney has "full operational control" of Hulu thanks to a new deal with Comcast.

The deal's terms state that Comcast will retain its 33 percent ownership interest in Hulu through January 2024, after which time either side can demand that the sale of Comcast's Hulu stake go through.


Comcast's NBCUniversal division will continue to license content to Hulu through late 2024. However, the deal includes a few stipulations: as soon as 2020, NBCUniversal will have the right to pull programming that was previously exclusive to Hulu, and by 2022 NBCUniversal will be able to cancel most of its content-licensing agreements with Hulu.

Like most other companies, NBCUniversal has plans to launch its own streaming service within the next few years. The Comcast/Disney deal today includes an arrangement where NBCUniversal will be able to keep its shows on Hulu on a nonexclusive basis (with a reduced licensing fee), while also streaming them on its new service.

As it stands, Hulu today is a platform with content from a wide array of content providers, which upload episodes of TV shows as early as the day after they air on cable. In the past, Disney has said that it plans to keep Hulu as it is and focus its own properties on the Disney+ streaming service. According to CEO Bob Iger, Disney's full ownership of Hulu will create an "even more compelling" service.
“We are now able to completely integrate Hulu into our direct-to-consumer business and leverage the full power of The Walt Disney Company’s brands and creative engines to make the service even more compelling and a greater value for consumers,” Disney chairman/CEO Bob Iger said in a statement about the pact.
For its main streaming service, Disney has announced that Disney+ will launch this November for $6.99 per month. It will include exclusive original series like "The Mandalorian," and various TV shows based on Marvel and Pixar properties.


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Spotify Premium Now Includes Hulu’s Ad-Supported Plan at No Extra Cost

Following a collection of student-related bundles, Spotify today announced that Spotify Premium will now include a free subscription to Hulu With Limited Commercials at no extra cost, for all users in the United States. The bundle is launching today and is open for sign-ups by Spotify Premium customers in the U.S. through June 10, 2019 (via The Verge).


Hulu With Limited Commercials recently lowered in price to just $5.99/month, but now Spotify Premium users will gain access to the video streaming service for free, as long as they stay subscribed to Spotify. This means that for $9.99/month, these users will be able to listen to all of the music on offer at Spotify, as well as stream the ad-supported version of Hulu.

To start saving, new Spotify Premium users can sign up for a 30-day free trial now and activate Hulu on the "Your Services" page in account settings. Those who already have Spotify Premium with Hulu, the company will automatically switch these users over from a $12.99/month price to the new $9.99/month price.

Lastly, those who already have a Hulu account but not Spotify will have to cancel their billing through Hulu and switch it over to Spotify. All Hulu plans connected to Spotify for this offer can not have any extras added onto it, so premium channels like HBO aren't allowed.

For the student bundles, Spotify and Hulu last August updated their offer by including Showtime. This means that eligible college students can get a Spotify Premium subscription ($9.99/month), Hulu With Limited Commercials subscription ($5.99/month), and a Showtime subscription ($10.99/month) for $4.99 per month total.

Tags: Spotify, Hulu

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Disney in Talks to Acquire WarnerMedia’s 10% Stake in Hulu, Resulting in 70% Ownership After Fox Acquisition

Disney is in active discussions with AT&T in an effort to acquire the 10 percent ownership stake that WarnerMedia has in Hulu, according to a report by Variety. Disney already owns a 30 percent stake in Hulu, and is soon to gain Fox's 30 percent stake once regulatory approvals for the Disney/20th Century Fox acquisition go through.


This means that if Disney does end up with both AT&T and Fox's stakes, it will own a 70 percent majority of the Hulu streaming service. The last remaining company with a stake is Comcast/NBCUniversal, and in a statement last month NBCU CEO Steve Burke said that "Disney would like to buy us out...I don't think anything's going to happen in the near term."

At this point, it's believed that even with a 70 percent control of Hulu, Disney would leave the platform as it is, focused on general entertainment with TV shows and films for subscribers to watch. In contrast, the upcoming Disney+ streaming service will be the platform where customers can get Disney-focused content in a more family-friendly environment.

For AT&T, the company is said to be looking to sell its minority stake in Hulu as it prepares to launch its own streaming service in late 2019. This service will be divided into three tiers: "one focused on movies; one with movies plus original programming; and a third tier comprising content from the first two along with WarnerMedia library content and licensed programming."

Apple's own entry into the streaming service market will happen soon, as the company plans to introduce its TV service at an event on March 25. While we will likely gain a lot of information about the service at that time, it's not expected to launch until the summer or fall of 2019.

Tags: AT&T, Disney, Hulu

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Hulu’s New ‘Pause Ad’ Experience Coming Q2 2019, Will Not Play Audio/Video Every Time You Pause

Last month, Hulu began talking about a new form of advertising it had in the works that it called "pause ads." At the time, the company said it tested numerous versions of the format, but they all boiled down to showing subscribers some form of advertising every time they hit pause on a video in Hulu.


The final version of pause ads has now been decided, and they'll begin rolling out in the second quarter of 2019. When they do, pause ads will not play video or audio when you pause a show or movie in Hulu, but instead they will showcase static images with taglines from various brands.
Just as consumers’ viewing habits have evolved, their expectations for advertising have also changed. Viewers no longer accept an irrelevant, intrusive ad experience and appreciate when brands tell their stories in authentic and integrated ways. To stand out and continue engaging their target audiences, brands must rise to the challenge and flex their creative muscles to go beyond the traditional commercial break.

Enter Hulu’s new Pause Ad, which provides a non-intrusive, viewer-initiated ad experience that is both delighting to viewers and effective for brands.
Hulu says pause ads will be "contextually relevant" and have background gradients that change to distinguish the ad from the paused scene. The company calls the ads "non-disruptive", and the final form was decided upon after extensive user testing found that consumers preferred ads that don't play extensive audio and video when pausing movies and TV shows.

The first two brands to debut with pause ads will be Charmin and Coca-Cola. When pause ads roll out they will appear within "select content" in Hulu's streaming library, presumably for those subscribed to Hulu With Limited Commercials. In today's press release, an example of a pause ad is shown in the Hulu Original show Marvel's Runaways, so it appears that even Hulu's own original content will have the new ads.

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Hulu Drops Price of Ad-Supported Service to $5.99/Month, but Raises Live TV Price

Hulu today announced a revised pricing structure, which will see it cutting the cost of its base streaming tier just days after Netflix announced a price hike.

Hulu's base service, which offers access to more than 85,000 episodes of on-demand television and thousands of movies, is now priced at $5.99 per month, down from $7.99 per month. Hulu's base tier is ad supported, so subscribers do need to watch a limited number of ads.


Hulu's ad-free plan continues to offer the same content at the same price, $11.99, with no pricing cuts enacted for that plan.

The Hulu+ Live TV service is getting more expensive with Hulu now charging $44.99 per month, up from $39.99 per month. Hulu Live TV is Hulu's live television service, offering the same on-demand content along with access to 60 live sports, news, and entertainment channels.

The new pricing changes will go into effect on February 26 for new subscribers, while existing subscribers will see the pricing changes enabled in the subsequent billing cycle after February 26.

Earlier this month, Hulu rival Netflix announced that its "Basic" tier for SD streaming will be priced at $9, up from $8, while its "Standard" HD tier will rise in price from $11 to $13 per month.

Netflix's "Premium" tier, which allows subscribers to access 4K video, will go up from $14 per month to $16 per month. Netflix's pricing changes went into effect on January 15 for new subscribers, while existing subscribers will see price increases over the next three months.

Tag: Hulu

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Upcoming Hulu App Interface Changes Aim to Simplify Navigation and Aid Discoverability

Hulu is about to update its streaming app to make it easier to navigate and discover new content, according to TechCrunch.


The big change coming in the next few weeks will be to the Hulu Lineup screen that users see when the app is launched.

Hulu wants to trial two different variations to see which one has the most engagement: a "Hulu Picks" collection that will be curated by staff, and an "Unwatched in My Stuff" option that will show users things in their list that they've yet to watch.


Hulu told TechCrunch it will test both options with a portion of users in the coming weeks in order to determine which one sees the best response.

Elsewhere, other upcoming changes will include enabling users to view content while they search the thumbnail interface for something to watch.

Subscribers can also expect a larger, more prominent "Details" button on content within collections like Kids, News, and Sports. More metadata will be available, too, including things like genre, rating, and release year.


In addition, the Details button is set to feature quick user actions such as playing the next episode in a series, adding items to "My Stuff," and other show-specific settings.

When browsing the Live TV channel guide, users will be able to view two weeks ahead, rather than just what's on now and next. In general, users will also see a refreshed palette for the interface, including background artwork and movie posters.

Tag: Hulu

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